View Full Version : .357 ammo for deer.

January 2, 2007, 08:53 PM
Opinions on my using Hornady 158gr JHP XTP's in .357 for deer. 25 yard shots or less. Already own this ammo and wondering if it's sufficient. S&W 4" barrel with 2x scope.

Bud Helms
January 2, 2007, 10:04 PM
'Don't know where you are hunting and how big the deer are or what kind of deer ... Whitetail? Muley? That will probably do the job, but the risk, IMHO, is sticking to the ground rules you set for yourself.

I was hunting in NW FL a few years back with a Blackhawk .357 w/open sights. I intended to limit myself to little more than the same range I had successfully archery hunted (30-35 yds), just to be on the safe side. A perfect silhouette shot came my way, I said to self, "That's just a tad over the planned range ... looks like about 45-50 yds ... maybe. I held high on the shoulder and shot and he took off like a rocket. I hung my head and started cussing. Then I heard a crash about 30-35 yds beyond where he had stood in a small dense creek bed. I walked down there and found him. Stone dead. I could see where he had run about 40 yds, circled around in a 180 and veered down into the creek bottom, and headed in the opposite direction he was facing when shot. He went another 50-60 yards in that thick bottom before expiring. He actually ran a total of about 120-140 yards from the point of impact until he lay down for good. In some circumstances, that's enough to lose the trail on a wounded deer. And it darned sure ain't "dropped dead where he stood", if you know what I mean.

Once it was all said and done, I had to own up to having taken the shot at nearly 70 yards! That buck fever does wonders for the old eye sight autoranging function, huh? Then I realized my store bought Remington Corlokt 158 gr semi jacketed bullet had centerpunched him, but it had gone in one side between two ribs and out the other side between two ribs. Never recovered the bullet, but I could just about get a ballpoint pen in the exit wound. :eek: The bullet never even opened up. Never found a fragment, but it did manage to do the deed on the rear of the lungs as it traversed through the little buck. A small 6 point "swamp buck", we called them. I was lucky.

So, tale told, I never took a .357 hunting deer again. Even though it did it's job, I couldn't trust me to do my part. I have never lost a shot deer to this day but I danged near lost that one. If I ever do take it out to hunt again, it will be with some fare-thee-well loads from my bench off the Dillon. But now I have a SBH w/10in barrel in .44 Mag for that.

If you can keep your range down and know where your bullet will impact, go ahead. But I can tell you from that one experience, that's a tall order under the exitement of the hunt. I still get that way, thank God. ;)

January 2, 2007, 10:44 PM
If you limit your shooting distance, okay. I pretty much agree with Bud on this one. It is why I use a 480 Ruger SRH revovler, but I would be comfortable with my 41 mag. It is the 50-75 yd range that will get you. It is just a tad beyond the range you practice at, but the deer is there and you think you can make the shot. Again, that is why I use the 480.

Use a heavier load if you can.

January 3, 2007, 12:06 AM
I wouldn't hesitate to use a 145-158-180gr round out of my 18"-barreled Marlin 1894C for a white-tail, but a 4" .357 revolver is cutting it pretty thin. scoped or not. IMHO, that's not enough for deer hunting.

January 4, 2007, 09:26 PM
The 158 XTP should work fine. I use the 180XTP myself.

January 7, 2007, 07:52 AM
Well this year I took a Doe at 20 yards using a Tauras 4" 357 tracker. The round used was Federal 158 grain Fusion. The deer was walking towards me and I put one round into the chest. The bullet entered about a inch from the right leg and exited down the right leg breaking the leg. This deer dropped right there DRT. I have had good luck So far. Keep your ranges short, kinda like bow hunting and you should be fine.

January 7, 2007, 09:24 AM
Buffalo Bore makes the best deer hunting ammo that I've found. It generates something like 800 ft/lbs IIRC. I have taken a few deer with the 158 gr and 170 gr loads they offer. I still moved up to a .44 this year because a deer hit with a 357 are really hard to track, almost no blood trail on 3 out of 4 that I've shot with a 357.http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#357

January 8, 2007, 05:20 PM
If you use a rangefinder, that should be a good load. I'd shoot for the shoulder. The shoulder blade is relatively thin, and will force the bullet to really open nice and give you a big hole in the boiler room.

January 9, 2007, 07:32 AM
If you are a good shot and the deer not extremly large I would say it would be okay at that distance.
The Hornady 180gr HP/XTP may be a better choice.

January 13, 2007, 06:36 AM
The 158 XTP is a good choice. It's a tough bullet with good penetration, and has a good reputation. It's also what I use. The .357 is plenty. The earlier post about a deer going 120 yards isn't an issue. My dad blew 3/4's of a deer's heart away with a Marlin .444, and it ran 130 yards and acted like it wasn't even hit till it dropped. Blood was spraying 10 feet out of the exit wound. Is a .444 then too small? I don't try to get fancy shooting deer. I just punch one in the lungs, and they usually drop within 60 yards with no ruined meat.

January 14, 2007, 02:35 AM
I have not taken a deer with my GP-100 yet, but I'm looking forward to the chance. Larger deer from farther north or west, I would have reservations about, but these deer in North Florida often don't much bigger than a large dog. :rolleyes: My last 8 point probably didn't go 140 pounds on the hoof.

It's largely whether you can keep yourself to a reasonable range, as has already been mentioned. With my skill with a revolver and the 170 grain Gold Dot JSP, I think that 35-40 yards would be my longest shot that I could take with certainty of hitting what I want to. Bowhunting ranges it is for me.

January 14, 2007, 02:56 AM
For most of us. For those who would limit shots to bowhunting ranges with a .357 Magnum, which isn't a bad call, would you feel more confident in your shooting ability at longer ranges with any iron-sighted handgun, regardless of caliber?

I sure wouldn't. If I can't put the bullet where it needs to go, at the range I'm shooting at, more gun won't help. Now, if I were capable of shooting out to 100 yards at game with a handgun, a bigger gun is needed. But I can't do it, regardless of the round I'm shooting, so it's not an issue.

At the ranges I'd be comfortable shooting any handgun at game, I doubt there's much difference between any of the sufficient calibers. And a properly loaded .357 is sufficient, at any range I'd shoot a handgun at an animal.

The critical question is "how good of a shot are you?" not "How big is your gun?" Find your maximum range. Can you put the first bullet in the kill zone, every time? If not, that's too far for you to shoot at game. I'm pretty sure that your accuracy will limit your shots much more than your gun will.


January 15, 2007, 11:43 PM
yeah what he said...........

January 17, 2007, 08:20 PM
I used to kill deer up on Cumberland Island with an old 3 screw Blackhawk. I lost one, but all the rest were good clean kills.
When I switched to a .44 Mag, I never carried a .357 again on a hunt. .44 Mag just works better. .45 Colt too, for that matter.

January 18, 2007, 04:40 PM
Would you say a .45 Colt is an acceptable deer round? I had been entertaining the idea of carrying something with me while I'm out fixing fences and such during deer season, and if it'll do the job sufficiently and save my wrist a little ache I'd be all for it. If not, .44 it is.

August 17, 2012, 04:12 AM
I know this is a rather old post, but some of the stuff I read is nonsense. The .357magnum is more than capable to kill any sized deer, I've watched guys kill freaking 350 pound wild boars with one at 40 to 50 yards. Alright now to cut to the chase of what my experience is with one, not particularly deer hunting but just testing the round, to be exact a Taurus 669 4" against a Smith and Wesson 29 6". First of all before everyone gets a huffy, the .44 has got more kinetic energy than the .357 mag, But I and a friend of mine were shooting at one of those old heavy duty short stubby propane tanks at about 95 to a 100 yards. I had 158 gr jsp, and he had 240 gr jsp. OK he went first knocking a few dings in it. We went up and checked it out, he got about a 3.5" group, we turned it around, then it was my turn. I shot at it, the tank was empty by the way with the nozzle screwed off, well anyway the tank rocked back and forth violently, you know ting, we knew I hit it a couple times. We went up to check the damage, and there were two perfect holes about and inch apart up and down, didn't go clear through though. But yeah I can't speak for everyone because no one shoots the same, but for me I'm absolutely 100% positive that a .357magnum with the right load even factory loads, I can kill a deer or a grizzly bear by that matter, at 1 to 100 yards max for me with the right shot. The only thing that I can understand why people say it won't is because there either a bad shot, or they have a bigger bored gun and think its better than everyone else's gun.

Mayor Al
August 17, 2012, 07:55 AM
I now carry a Charter 44 Spl as a backup handgun for whatever long-gun I am using for hog/deer hunting. I know better than to try to handgun hunt with either the 44 or the 357 I used to carry for the same purpose. It has nothing to do with the ballestics of the handgun, It is a matter of my weak hands and unsteady handgun shooting. I use a long gun because I can steady it and hit what I aim at, whereas with a handgun my percentage of hits drops as the distance increases.

The 357 could do the job on deer, especially if it is in a lever-action carbine. The 44 mag would do a better job. But my Mini-30 and/or 308 Winchester will give me the confidence I need to take the shot.

Old Grump
August 17, 2012, 02:37 PM
deerdoown only had 10 posts, I have a feeling he didn't stick around.

However here is my dos centavos from my dinosaur perspective.


Dan Wesson with 4" barrel barely made the legal 6" minimum when you measured to the rear of the cylinder. It was my only deer gun for 26 years and only got replaced when old age hit my eyeballs. I only used 158 gr JSP or LSWC for hunting and my deer were all gotten at 60 to 100 yards with my first deer at 135 yards, (the only deer I ever had to shoot twice). deerdown's bullet is hotter than mine was and if you stay under 50 yards and can put your shot where you need it you are way more than good to go. If it will take down a grizzly, (not recommended by Good Housekeeping), it will sure take a deer. It still comes down to where you put the bullet because their aint no magic bullet that will do it all no matter what.

August 17, 2012, 02:44 PM
In answer to the OP's question, the answer is yes.

August 17, 2012, 03:37 PM
IMHO - Yes - Under the idea conditions, however that means you'll have be disciplined enough to turn down shots.
One more thing: Practice-Pratice-Practice!

August 17, 2012, 08:43 PM
For 25yards, ditch the scope.

August 18, 2012, 09:15 AM
But yeah I can't speak for everyone because no one shoots the same, but for me I'm absolutely 100% positive that a .357magnum with the right load even factory loads, I can kill a deer or a grizzly bear by that matter, at 1 to 100 yards max for me with the right shot.

Soooooooooooo, how many of them deer and Grizzlies have you killed with your .357 at 100 yards?

The only thing that I can understand why people say it won't is because there either a bad shot, or they have a bigger bored gun and think its better than everyone else's gun.

No body here said it "won't". All was said that a .357, like any hunting firearm has it's limitations. The shooter needs to know these limitations plus his own before he makes a decision to shoot. This is not only true with .357s, but with any hunting firearm. It's much easier on the internet to make long distance one shot bang flops than it is in real life.

August 18, 2012, 10:01 AM
Ok here's a caveat: I've NEVER shot a deer with a .357mag handgun. I have however taken deer with a lever action .357mag rifle.

At the ranges you're talking about and with the load you're planning to use you should be ok. That'll be plenty enough to take deer. As someone stated though I'd lose the scope for 25yards or less. At that range just practice a lot and get good with irons. A scope will just get in the way.

Heck even with my .44mag revolver I don't use a scope. I use irons out to 75 yards and if its farther than that then I don't take the shot unless I've got a rifle to shoot - not the gun's fault, just my bad aim.

Brian Pfleuger
August 18, 2012, 10:04 AM
5 1/2 year old thread. OP long gone. There seems little value in rehashing this one. The "it's enough gun", "no it ain't"... argument has been had for this cartridge and every other one too, 1000 times over.